Archive for the ‘value’ Category

Why Your Boss Probably Hates You

Wednesday, August 6th, 2014

angry bossAs a career coach specializing in communication, I’m presented with a wide spectrum of work stories. Some end in, “I don’t know why my boss hates me.”  Variations on this are:

  • My supervisor hates me
  • The project manager hates me
  • The recruiter seemed to hate me
  • Everybody at work hates me

Of course, hate is an awfully big and painful word. Most often given some details, I realize hate isn’t the appropriate word. It’s more accurate to describe the situation as:

  • I get a weird feeling from her
  • There’s a lot of tension at the office
  • I don’t like the way I’m treated
  • I don’t get recognized for doing my job

So it’s not hate, but there are a lot of negative feelings between managers and staff, or business owners and employees. A lot of suspicious, unfriendly recruiters.

Where do these negative feelings come from? What could be the origin of so many employees feeling underappreciated and undervalued?

You probably have never done anything wrong at work, but consider all the people who have come before you. They trained your boss to be skeptical, distrusting, and irritated by the mistakes, waste, slacking and even outright lies some employees dole out.

I got a call on Sunday evening from a business owner as he was getting off the roof of his building, taking care of the endless chores associated with running a physical therapy practice. He had cleaned the exterior of the building, swept out the parking lot, folded towels, put away piles of files that were laying behind the front desk, and was about to take a shower before completing the charts he prepares each evening before he meets clients the next day.

“I pay a lot of people,” he said. “When they’re broke or in trouble, they come to me for loans – and I always say yes. I accommodate their school schedules, friends’ wedding plans that take them off shift, sick days and everything else they feel free to ask of me. They ask me for advice, and I always make time for them.”

“Now, I’m doing maintenance and chores that the cleaning crew left, my staff overlooked and it’s all things my clients see. Some days it’s really clear that no one really cares about me or this company. Maybe a few people do on occasion, but four years is a long time to learn that unless you’re hard on people, they take it easy.”

No, this doesn’t mean YOU take it easy at work. It just means people who can’t avoid being held accountable like a manager or business owner may be worn out by the staff who came before you.

Getting a weird vibe at work? Make a contract with yourself to do a really good job everyday and to look for one more thing to do, that’s outside your specific duties. Let your boss or the recruiter learn that you are that one in a million, the person who really understands that work is more than a paycheck.

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Personal Branding with a Punch and Some Cookies

Tuesday, December 15th, 2009

Typically, it’s not the best, but the one who can take the stress that makes it to the top of any company, industry or career path. It’s the person who can take a punch, get past the burn, and play injured that makes it to number one.

It’s the person who cleans and dresses their own wounds – and knows how to unwind rather than blow up – that other people trust and admire.

Soothing self-talk is way under recognized as a career and reputation management tool.cookie

While our personal brands must be distinct from the masses around us, those of us who succeed have one thing in common: we are low maintenance on other people. We appear to be self-cleaning ovens, effortlessly churning out fresh, hot and delicious chocolate chip cookies without leaving a mess. Even when we don’t have the perfect temperature, ingredients and other conditions that we wish made our missions easier – we perform reliably.

If you embrace the facts: business is not nice, people don’t play fair and cheaters often prosper, and you’re okay with that – you can save your energy for the real fight.  Guess who is your opponent?

The real fight is always with yourself, not with your circumstances or other people. The fight is to maintain your calm, measure your words and keep things in perspective.

My business partner says the toughest part of deal-making is: “getting over yourself.” Getting over the loss of “must-haves,” that turn out to be “not right now haves.” Getting over what feels like career ending injuries – like getting fired or being passed over for the ideal job. Getting over the client who breaches a contract, the boss who goes back on his word, and getting on with the real job you wind up with – which rarely looks like the job description you signed on for.

Dream big but don’t torment yourself. Goals are meant to stretch you, but not so far as to break you. We all have an internal thermostat regulating our sense of well-being, with a surprisingly small range for novelty and change in any one space of time. So, do yourself a favor, and set the next upward threshold at 2 degrees not 20 degrees higher as you make the climb in your mind, which is where success starts.

As you rise in reality, acclimate to the stress, the perqs, the people, and the altitude. The air gets thinner and it can be really hard to take that centering, cleansing breath – as you go higher and higher in your business or career. Like any great ascent, you have to see it and take it, in stages. People who manage their careers, reputations and the growth of their brands are not just self-confident.They have soothing self-talk. Most of the time, we’re thinking about the next step, not the entire mind-boggling journey.

If you are pushed or pulled over your limit, even by your own imagination, you may creatively find ways to self-sabotage.

As soon as you’ve laid down the great get, such as: “I will be the leading social media strategist or blogger or pundit or accountant or tech genius in my field,” drop in mini-goals.  You eat an elephant and an apple the same way, one bite at a time.

So survey the buffets that are spread out this season, and resolve to enjoy just enough holiday punch and cookies to satisfy you in one sitting. Your eyes may not be the best judge of what your stomach can hold down.

What other reasonable resolutions are you going to make at this time of year?

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Ten Commandments of Personal Branding – #2: Sell Your Signature, Not Your Soul

Friday, December 4th, 2009

With personal branding, you must develop and communicate a signature style, tone, approach, point of view or set of wares. It’s harder and harder to create unique products and services, but your ability to be a unique purveyor of whatever you’re selling should be pretty simple. That’s because your personal brand is youand you are by definition a unique individual. Think of your personal brand an expression of yourself.

Commandment #2 – Sell Your Signature, Not Your Soul

pablo_picassLike Picasso or Diego Rivera, you might have different “periods” or show the signs of changing influences, but that should reflect your growth – or ability to not only follow trends, but to set them.

By creating and leveraging your personal brand whenever there’s the opportunity to engage with other people, you are selling yourself. Don’t confuse that with selling your soul or selling out. Integrity and staying true to your values and voice are key; in fact, they are the basis of your long-term success.

No matter what you think of what you’re doing at this moment in time – maybe you’re under performing because: it’s just in this job, just this gig, just this relationship – you must see this point as somewhere along the line of your building your entire reputation, body of work, how people understand who you are today (and what your potential is).

So, even if you have found yourself temporarily in a poor fit, you want to approach the situation, challenge or opportunity with a signature style.

For example, when US Airways pilot Chesley Sullenberger III saved all 150 passengers as his plane ditched into the Hudson River, he was praised for being heroic and masterful. There’s no way “Sully” had not only practiced his mechanical maneuvers often enough to save the day in that emergency, he had practiced helpingthinking and acting masterfully for years. On the average day, that might mean looking out for a elderly woman who seemed a bit lost in his local supermarket. It might mean not turning in for the night without checking to see that all the doors and windows at home were locked.

You want to practice your signature style now, so you can be received as the unique and ideal new employee, person for that exciting new project, consultant for that top-notch client or team leader for your organization.

What is your signature now? Take a hard look, ask people who know you or just compare yourself to someone you admire. What qualities do you want to develop and convey, so everyone wants your signature?

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Ten Commandments of Personal Branding – #1 Be a Space Commander

Thursday, December 3rd, 2009

The basis of establishing a really strong and lasting personal brand, is producing information that solves your audience’s problems, helps them achieve their goals, educates them, and helps them make better decisions or simply live better.

Commandment #1 – Be a Space Commander

rocketThe best known brands own a specific, unique, recognizable and valuable place in “space.” For example, Apple commands the music download and mobile listening space, via iTunes, iPod, and iPhone. Apple’s dominance extends to the mobile entertainment space, now that iPhones are responsible for more than 60% of all mobile searches.

Personal brands are similar, but the “space” you command may be much smaller and still yield enormous benefits for you – if you are clever about how you make money (by leveraging your audience). The real difference between making it big in product marketing versus personal branding is what you as an individual have to give away in exchange for loyal followers.

For example, let’s look at the really big personal brands in business communication space. Seth Godin owns permission marketing,” and seeks to own even greater territory in relationship marketing.” He’s so big, that he’s giving away his new book (in exchange for a donation to a foundation) and evangelizing for everyone to give away their intellectual property (because real fans will buy your book as a “collectible”). Peter Shankman owns “no-cost access to journalists,” via HARO. He gives away leads to anyone willing to sign up for his Help A Reporter Out email blasts, and just sells ad space at the top of the blast (three times a day). The advertiser also gets his personal endorsement (I wear these pajamas! kind of thing). Chris Brogan is at least part owner of “social networking.” He recently impressed the daylights out an a NYC entrepreneur group, who all received his book, Trust Agents, as a gift.

It’s time for you to define your area of expertise, information, approach, or talent within a tribe. What do you know? How can you codify it? Maybe an ebook? Maybe podcasts? Maybe assessments? And, how can you capitalize on the loyal audience you command? Great consulting gigs, best job offers, speaking fees, advertising – the list not on goes on, it grows as you build your personal brand.

Next Up: Commandment 2 – Sell Your Signature!

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Do-It-Together Club for Entrepreneurs

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

Nance Rosen’s October 27, 2009 keynote to the United Chambers of Commerce on Personal Branding: How to Build Your Reputation & Gain Visibility for Your Organization. Nance spoke on increasing company value, developing new relationships to increase revenue, and the new Do-It-Together Club for Entrepreneurs.

Personal Branding: How to Build Your Reputation & Gain Visibility for Your Organization from PegasusMediaWorld on Vimeo.

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It’s Not Who You Are, It’s What You Mean.

Tuesday, October 13th, 2009

It’s not who you are if you’re trying to sell yourself on your stats: as a bundle of skills and experience, you’re going to lose out to competitors who know what they mean and are promoting that to employers and prospects.

The goal of your personal brand effort has got to answer this one question: what do you mean to your

It's not who you are, it's what you mean.

It's not who you are, it's what you mean.

target group (or what will you mean when you get it together? As Phyllis Korkki writes in the New York Times, communicating that you are “hard-working, flexible, cooperative and witty,” will allow recruiters and clients to see what you would mean to the organization, not just what you can do.

Romancing your brand.

Personal brand strategists could learn a lot from the literature on romance. Men fall in love with women who make them “feel” a certain way. These women can be encouraging, admiring, demanding, angry and anywhere along the dotted line from angel to devil. The one thing that the loved have in common is not perfect hair and great bodies. These women mean something to the men they connect with. Someone to save, someone to adore, someone to fight out the demons of the past, someone to rely on when times are tough, someone they would take a bullet for: this is what generates commitment.

I live in Los Angeles, the capital of beautiful, toned, and educated women who are alone every Saturday night. They start out like this at 22 and continue until they’re 50, when they decide that having cats means they are no longer alone. Their “best years” are dotted by “hanging out” with a man now and then. Their regular dates are other womenwho are equally lovely and absolutely hopeless about finding a long-lasting, loving connection.

Last Friday night, I went out with my fiancé to meet these women and the men who would chill with them, but not settledown with them. It was 9:30 PM at an uber cool saloon, Pink Taco in Century City. We were there for a going-away party for Adam, an athletic, sweet, handsome and single physical therapist. Every other man at the party was almost a clone: hunky, nice, funny and hard-working.

The women there had all chilled with these men. Yet it looked like a middle school dance, except the guys didn’t look awkward at all. They were laughing and talking, mostly making fun of each other in that guy-bonding way. The women were talking to each other about work and not dating.  I know these women because we chat each other up at the gym and at get-togethers like this one. They have really interesting jobs or are wrestling with challenges like finding a job, they have great family relationships and they all look like models. They just haven’t hunkered down on the one thing that matters in creating a relationship: what do I mean to someone else?

What do you mean to someone else?

What doe you mean to someone else?

What doe you mean to someone else?

Vibrant personal brands and big brands present a promise of what consumers will enjoy and why it’s worth it to commit to owning this one thing – to the exclusion of owning something else. With so much competition, it’s not enough for the contents of the can or the resume to be jam packed with good things.

What Harvard Professor Gerald Zaltman calls “deep metaphors,” and I call “ideal qualities of life” are what you want to communicate with your personal brand. Zaltman’s research on Coke shows that the brand has successfully embedded the promise of “connection” to the soda. Connection to others and even more importantly, connection to the self are what consumers are buying: not the syrup and bubbly water in the cool red can. What Coke means is people holding hands and singing the same song or the pause the refreshes, which a radio spot successfully broadcasts just by the sound of ice clinking and soda effervescing in a glass. Ahhh.

You connect your brand

Whether you’re seeking a job or going after clients (or trying to get a promotion or project approved), start off by

You connect your brand

You connect your brand

communicating the quality you deliver that elevates an organization’s standard of living. Of course, if you have a big book of business and you’re in sales, then it’s pretty clear: revenue means power. But, if you are in another occupation consider what you could mean.

Get your achievements organized so they all lead to a recruiter or prospect to say: “Wow, this individual would be a force of ______________ in my company.”

Need some hints? Below are just some of personal brand values you may be:

Author: Nance Rosen is the author of Speak Up! & Succeed. She frequently speaks to business audiences around the world and is a resource for press, including print, broadcast and online journalists and bloggers covering social media and careers.

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